Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot times in the City

It's has been a while since I last posted on this blog. I am also a neighborhood activist in the PostKatrina World, wife, mom, fulltime professional for a big corporation and sometimes pagan blogging has to take a back seat.

We had a marvelously cool spring and early summer. This is practically miraculous.

The school year is out and my husband and daughter are both home from school, him from teaching and her from 7th grade. We are thankful for friends with swimming pools and for dark cool theatres. I've always thought that our theatre season should be the summer because of the appeal of dark, cool theatres. This weekend we went to 2 plays (a premier & Shakespeare), as well as seeing the classic CasaBlanca on the big screen at a 1915 movie theatre. It's important to teach the kid "cultural literacy". We also saw CarrotBlanca with Bug's Bunny and a cast of old Looney Tunes characters, which made me think about how much of my own cultural literacy can be attributed to Loony Tunes & the creative genius of Mel Blanc & Warner Bros. But I digress.

Summer is our harsh season. In other parts of the country and world the winter season is the harshest season, the season where folks prepare to go outside and say WHEW! when they finally get inside. In New Orleans we prepare for a summer's day the way folks in Maine prepare for a walk in the woods in January. If there are outside chores it is best to do these before 10AM. You want to be inside, cooled off, showered and with a cold drink by 10:30AM. Then you wait out the heat of the day, until the evening. The evening is that short time between when the heat has begun to dissipate and before the mosquitoes come out to carry you away.

Because of how my house sits on its lot, I need to be out working in the front yard at daybreak and done as early as possible. I can then move to my back yard where the house shields the back patio for an hour or so more. Then I have to hide out in the shade or indoors until later in the evening. If I absolutely HAVE to do front yard work in the summer, then sometimes I can get a hour in after 5PM when the front yard is mostly shaded.

We don't live in the desert BUT, in New Orleans, we do completely respect the sun's power. This is why music gigs in New Orleans rarely start before 10PM. It is just too hot to go out before then! I'm also a believer in early rising and after lunch naps whenever possible in the summer. Siesta time makes a large amount of sense in the heat. And summer is when I remember that shade trees are a true gift from the Gods!

It has always bugged me that the Summer Solstice is called by many "the first day of Summer" when in reality it is "MidSummer", or Summer's turning point, well for most places. In New Orleans it is officially summer on the first day that the temperature hits 90 degrees. This happened this year in early May but then we got another reprieve of days that were in the 70s & 80s. So we are practically spoiled now that it hits 90 degrees or better everyday and probably will until September or October. The Autumn Equinox is a marker that allows us to hope that the heat will break but it doesn't typically mark any true change in the basic summer weather patterns. This is also why the hurricane season doesn't end until November.

How many people do you know who consider Air Conditioning as a productivity tool? It is here. It can also cut people off from the seasons and the earth. When you are cocooned inside your totally climate controlled house & car you can definitely loose connection to the greater world. Sometimes I think if there were no A/C that a lot more people would be taking climate change seriously. When you step out on to your porch and the heat and humidity punch you in the nose, you learn to respect it.

So if Summer is not your harsh season be thankful and get out and appreciate it!

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